Though the article is too long and wandering to use in today’s newsletter, there are some salient quotes in Ether for Authors: Is It Time for Publishing to Call a Truce? Porter Anderson quotes Dr. Florian Geuppert of Hamburg-based Books on Demand. The emphasis in both quotes is mine:
We have surveyed 1,800 of our 25,0000 [sic] authors in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and Scandinavia … About one-third of the authors we surveyed made a conscious choice against traditional publishing … We can identify three big groups. The first is the hobby authors. Then there are professional writers. And then there are the experts, who use self-publishing to share their expertise—being a coach, being a scientist, being a business person.
All of them across the groups said their reasons for self-publishing are first, creative freedom and control over their rights and content; second, it’s the ease of the process; third, it’s basically fun … and the desire to self-publish is even higher among professional writers.
One third of authors surveyed (by a print-on-demand company, we should note) made self-publishing their first choice.
Does that really mean the other two-thirds settled for something less than their real goal, traditional publishing?
A number of points come to mind:
- Don’t settle. If you want a traditional publishing deal, I think you’re wasting your time and effort, but if you still want it, don’t settle. You’ll never ever ship art that’s worth anything if you settle.
- Why do the majority of authors who end up self-publishing still consider it a second choice? Do they think they’ll make less money? Earn less fame? Have to work harder? Deliver an inferior product?
- Is fun the difference? Is this adventurous spirit where the split happens? Are we looking at, not business choices, but personalities?
Self-publishing is not automatically second-rate, second-class, second choice.
You can help prove this by producing a top quality book: the writing, editing, formatting, design, all of it.
I’m holding myself to a higher standard with all my books next year.
What could you do better with your books?